As a developer and publisher of apps, I wouldn’t be impressed to hear that people are getting my paid-for apps without paying for them. After all, thats my hard work people are pirating! Chances are also theres extra malware bolted on, if its not coming from the stores directly.

However, since summer last year, I’ve been using a couple of apps that allow me to get Google Play Credit for free and then use that credit to buy premium apps for reduced prices.

I think its been a valuable way to discover new apps that I otherwise would never have found, and those developers are actually getting paid. Everybody wins!

Get The Google Opinion Rewards App

First step is to earn Google Play credit. Google has an app called Google Opinion Rewards, which pays small amounts of google credit every time you complete a questionnaire survey about brick and mortar shops you have visited recently.

I’ve used the app since summer 2017 and its usually only 2 or 3 questions, once or twice a week. Firstly select which shop you’ve been to from a given list, then when you went there. Finally give a rating out of 5 for your experience at the shop. Very occasionally I’ve been asked to write a review about places.

Over time I got a sense for which shop’s surveys would pay more. Generally speaking, selecting a higher-end store would end up paying higher amounts (Waitrose paid more than ASDA, for example) and the highest amount I ever got was for a review of a holiday resort in Bognor Regis! (Very Nostalgic)

However, don’t be tempted to chose a shop you think might pay more, if you haven’t been there. Google “knows”..

In any case, one of the options is “none of the above” and you still receive credit for selecting that one.

Get a sales review app

After receiving the credit, the next step is to spend it! If you already know which apps you want to get, then thats great. For me, I wanted to get GTA San Andreas but it was always at a price I considered too expensive for a mobile game.

However, I’d recommend an app like AppSales which indexes recent sales on apps. Theres a few apps on the store that do this, this is the one I settled on.

Get into the habit of regularly checking the sales. As some only last a few days. There are options for viewing reduced-to-free apps too.

By using these two apps I’ve found the benefits of getting more into trying out apps on the store much more than I ever did before. Its allowed me to get the games I never quite got round to and also allowed me to discover some real gems that I would never have found on the vast store otherwise. Its given me more confidence to spend on the store on unknown developers and apps, which will benefit them as well as they will actually be paid for their efforts, instead of having to rely just on advertising.

A note on Ads – use Airplane mode

Annoying as Ads are, remember that thats how apps get funded these days. Especially the free ones. Since spending more time going through a lot of apps, its become accepted that Ads are thrown in there. I don’t usually mind the banner ads, but full screen ones take you right out of the experience and typically you can’t get out of them until set timer allows you to, sometimes as much as 30 seconds. For one game I played recently, it earned mostly 1 star reviews because of the 30 second ads. A real shame as well because I really enjoy playing that game. A quick solution is to switch on airplane mode (or switch off wifi and mobile data) immediately before playing. It’ll work for the single player quick games, but obviously you won’t be getting any messages during that time. There’s probably other apps out there that can limit the ad traffic to your phone but I would still like to believe that its a reasonable way for developers to get paid so I haven’t investigated it. Its only in the most extreme cases where it feels like I’m watching more ads than playing the game that I feel its time to do something about it.

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